Katalin Szende

CEU Faculty Fellow
Medieval Studies
Central European University
Project Title: 
Creating Spaces: Town Foundations in Central Europe in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries in a Comparative Perspective
Project Abstract: 

In the last few years I have been analysing the first centuries of urban development in the Kingdom of Hungary and its broader region from c. 900 to c. 1400, in other words from the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin to the heyday of the Kingdom of Hungary as a significant political power on the Continent under King Sigismund. At the beginning of this period, this territory was characterized by the almost complete lack of settlements that fulfilled urban functions, whereas by the end, a hierarchically structured network emerged, most elements of which still form the backbone of our modern settlement system. The crucial time period in this development is the middle and the second half of the thirteenth century, when the old power centers were replaced by or transformed into "new towns" that were comparable to towns in Western Europe from social, topographical and legal points of view. The aim of my research is to show according to what criteria and through which processes the individual urban settlements and their network were established and developed; what sort of social, political and economic needs they accommodated; and how they adapted to changing conditions in the world around them.

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